A Good, Good Father

“A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, is God in His holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.” -Psalm 68:5-6

What happens when a young man throws his life into drugs which alter the very fabric of his sanity? What happens when the destructive patterns drive him into the ground and thrust him into a cycle of near-death and decay?

We unfortunately see this every day on our local streets, and it breaks my heart every time. And I know it breaks your heart too. There are not many experiences in my life that I consider hopeless – I consider myself an eternal optimist – but seeing someone’s life destroyed by an addicted to drugs devastates me.

Can hope still shine through? Yes, it can!

The day after Mother’s Day we heard a miraculous story, reminding us that with Jesus, hope can always shine through – even at the eleventh hour! One of our Hub Spots on the Windward side had been ministering to a young man named Josh. Josh was kind, but desperately addicted to drugs. The Hub Spot team had been sharing the love of Jesus with him for several weeks, but everything took a turn a few weeks ago when they found Josh lying in a gutter, dying of a drug overdose. He had drug paraphernalia sticking out of his legs and he was days, if not hours, from death.

They scooped Josh up out of the gutter, and got him immediate help. Meanwhile, by a miracle of God, they discovered through a random connection that Josh’s family had flown to Oahu looking for him. The people serving at the Hub Spot connected to the family and told them they had Josh. A joyous reunion ensued, but it didn’t end there. Josh accepted Jesus, got baptized, and then he commited to going into a rehab to overcome his addictions. A rehab was chosen near Josh’s family home in the continental U.S. so that he could be near his family. And off they all flew, to go back home!

Their first Sunday back, they really wanted to have Josh come to church, but being in rehab comes with strict rules and the rehab did not normally allow people to leave that early into the program. However, the rehab made an exception for Josh to go with his family to church on Mother’s Day. As Josh entered the church, everyone began to celebrate. And the leaders of the church decided, spur of the moment, to ask Josh to share his story with the congregation.

On Mother’s Day 2023, far away from Oahu – but because of a group of compassionate people at the River of Life Mission Hub – Josh got to share his story of hope and all God had done. Fourteen people in the church gave their lives to Jesus that day!

These are the stories we are hearing daily, and a true reflection of all God is doing on our island and far beyond. God gave us a simple plan and concept: to go mobile and work closely with the local church in their own communities while intentionally resourcing those who care for people living in desperation. The plan God gave is working and having a huge impact right before our eyes.

Even now, a small team of leaders from River of Life Mission are in Orlando, Florida training 1,500 leaders at Christ-centered missions from all around he world on our transition to a mobile model.

God is leading, God is mixing things up, God is raising up the local church, and God is moving in His people to love others in ways that restore lives. We praise God for this every day and we praise God for you.

Thank you for being a part of the team at River of Life Mission. We truly couldn’t do it without you. God is undoubtedly growing something very special.

Josh finally found out how true the Psalm 68 verse is, and thanks to your support, he connected with his Almighty Father and started his healing journey. Happy Father’s Day to all of you amazing fathers, and thank you God for being our Almighty Father! 

Pastor Paul Gates

Executive Director